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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

3i2        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

when the Prussian law code, after reaffirming that " the schools
and universities are State institutions," went on to declare that
" children who have to be educated in accordance with the laws
of the State in another religion than that taught in a public school,
cannot be compelled to take part in the religious instruction given
in that school."*

If France lagged behind Germany in establishing a national
system of education, it was not from any lack of belief in the
necessity for it on the part of men of all sorts and conditions.
Following La Chalotais in the advocacy of State education came
a succession of notable writers : Rolland in a Report to the Parlia-
ment of Paris over which he presided (1768), Rousseau in his
Considerations on the Government of Poland (1772), Helvetius in
the posthumously published treatise On Man (1772), Turgot,
economist and statesman, in his Memoirs to the king (1775),
Diderot in the Plan for a University written for the Empress of
Russia (1776). Amidst much diversity, these all agree that the
State and the State alone should undertake the education of the
future citizen, and that the teachers should be mainly, if not
wholly, laymen. Nor was there any lack of definiteness with
regard to the organization of the national system or even with
regard to the subjects that should be taught. Rolland (1734-1794),
for example, though a lawyer and not a teacher, had an extensive
acquaintance with educational work, and the proposals he had to
make in the Report already mentioned were all thoroughly
practical. His programme of studies was based on Rollin's
Treatise, but he had brought it up to date by recognizing that
special attention needed to be paid to French history and language
in the interests of good citizenship, and that there should be
separate teachers for the sciences. Unlike La Chalotais, he
believed in universal education. " Everyone,'* he maintained,
" should have the opportunity to get the education most suitable
for him." And he envisaged an ascending series of schools and
colleges throughout the land to provide this education : first, the
country schools where the children could at least learn to read and
write, then what he called " semi-colleges " in the smaller towns,
where the pupils would study the French language and the
elements of Latin and history, and get the fundamentals of religion
and morals ; then higher colleges for the best of the young people

* P. 530.